Mani, our area, by the structure of its natural topography and its residential composition, defines the framework of communication and the shapes of the aspirations of its inhabitants. Full of self-contained micro-sites, with little production potential, with difficult transportation and with small settlements, Mani determines the self-sufficiency and the autonomy of each micro-site. The relations between the inhabitants of the settlements, while not lacking in sentimentality due to their common origin and genetic make-up, do not extend to complete mutual understanding. There is also the common element, of proud individual egoism, which does not allow it. As the past teaches us, it is only when the region is faced with a great common danger that the reservations are lifted and universally supported common actions are initiated.
The developments of the last 3-4 decades remove these isolating tendencies and shape development possibilities, which can only be promoted with joint actions, spreading the benefits to all. Tendencies, in order to be able to be transformed into actions and actions into tangible results, require the existence of appropriate human resources that will act as a catalyst. In other words, what is required are human resources that have gone beyond personal aspirations and ambitions and have the ability to plan and coordinate a common course of action by defining goals and their implementation processes without having personal ambitions as the main goal.
A few months ago, proposals for the self-governing transformation of Mani were made public. Their announcement at festive events without documentation of how they will be promoted, to put it mildly, can only be described as naive. Such transformations require a great deal of preparation and consensus-building among those closely associated with the proposed transformations, both at the local government level and at the level of the state administration. Above all, they require a long information campaign until ordinary citizens are convinced that the proposed local government changes will have a positive impact on their daily lives and will help to improve their finances in future years. The topography of Mani, with several local centres that define local specificities, do not create optimism for easy acceptance of this kind of proposals by the majority of the individual regions.
A significant contribution to the process of maturing a common framework could be achieved by utilising the actions of the Mani OXE program. As we mentioned in the editorial published in the previous issue (July 2022) of MANIOT SOLIDARITY: We thought in 2018, when the Integrated Spatial Investments (ΟΧΕ) Program of Mani was announced with public funding of 12,100,000 € as an addition to the credits of the Peloponnese Regional Operational Program (ΠΕΠ) (2014 – 2021), that this special financing could be a model of a harmonious synthesis of the investment needs of the private and public sector of our region. Unfortunately, in the almost four years that have passed since then, an integrated program with a Development Strategy and a solid Action Plan, has not seen the light of day. For the public technical works which have been proposed to be included in the OXE Mani Program, their fragmentary character and their unrelated form were obvious.The above also applies to the intangible actions of general utility that could be promoted through this program and financed by it.
We have no illusions that, with the above amount of the Integrated Spatial Investments (OXE) Mani program, all the needs of the Mani geographical area could be met. What we claim is that project and action choices could have emerged, either in 2018 with the old local government team or in 2019 with the new one, following a joint proposal of the two main beneficiaries of the funding, namely the two municipalities (δήμοι) of Mani. This could have been achieved through prolonged consultations and meetings that would have as main objective projects and actions of a homogeneous and unifying nature. The lack of action of this kind finally led, due to the risk of losing part of this funding, to the initiatives undertaken by the competent Department of the Region of Peloponnese. The work of this department led to the final formulation of the program through the consolidation of the individual proposals that had been proposed by the two beneficiary municipalities of Mani and the addition of some generalised projects after a technocratic approach.Thus, given the end of the program’s time horizon, in 2023, the very concept of “integrated” contained in its title seems incomplete! And even more incomplete in terms of its potential for implementation remains the idea of self-governing or administrative reconstruction of the geographical area of Mani through the use of the resources of this program.
THE EDITORIAL BOARD